Richard Burnett and Leonard Rutherford were a well- known string band duo in south central Kentucky in the '20s and '30s, and they actually stayed active as performers into the '50s, leaving behind a small and revered body of work, most of which is contained on Document Records' Complete Recorded Works release (there are actually a handful of additional tracks on Rounder's Ramblin' Reckless Hobo, which means Document's set isn't exactly complete, in spite of the title). Although much of what the duo tackles falls into the standard string band songbook of the era, Rutherford's smooth and rolling unison fiddle style rescues nearly everything from clichÃ©, and when Burnett gets to cut loose on banjo (as he does on "Going Across the Sea"), he shows an impressive and rapid frailing style. The bizarre murder ballad "Pearl Bryan" certainly sticks out, given its improbable plot line (apparently based on a true event) which tells the story of two dentists who behead a woman after a botched abortion in order to escape detection, only to be caught in the end because she has, believe it or not, webbed feet. The duo's most enduring song, though, is the elegant and archaic-sounding ballad called "Willie Moore," which is as timeless as it is beautiful. In the why you should know these guys department: Burnett composed a sad tune in 1913 called "Farewell Song" which, after a few small moderations, morphed into the Appalachian standard "A Man of Constant Sorrow."